James W. Nichols, a Northport, Alabama, pastor whose congregation thought he was just battling allergies in recent weeks, died suddenly from a virus. He was 62.
“Today we are in mourning because we lost the leader of our church. But we also rejoice because we know he is with his heavenly father,” Rob Livingston, administrator for the Chapel Hill Baptist church where Nichols served as senior pastor for nine years until his death, told CBS 42.
Affectionately called “Dr. J” Nichols died early Tuesday morning at a local hospital after being sick for several weeks. What family and friends thought was just allergies turned out to be a virus that paralyzed one side of the pastor’s vocal cords.
Stacie Holland, theater director at Sipsey Valley High School, who served with Nichols, recalled how the church prayed for their pastor’s healing prior to his death.
“Sunday night I sat at the altar, with a hundred or more of my brothers and sisters in Christ, for nearly two and a half hours as we pleaded the blood of Jesus over our pastor. Prayer after prayer was, ‘Lord, forgive us of our unbelief.’ Or ‘Thank you for bringing us to a place where we couldn’t bring ourselves.’ One lady even thanked the Lord for using Dr. J and his sickness to show us how unfaithful we had been as a church body and to forgive us of settling for contentment and complacency,” Holland recalled Tuesday.
Days later, Nichols died.
“We would like to take a moment to thank the entire church body and community for all the prayers, cards and text over the last few days. This morning at 4:15am Dr. J went home to be with his Savior with Susan and their girls by his side. He now is reunited with Jay and his dad,” the church announced on Facebook Tuesday, adding 1 Thessalonians 4:13: “And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair